SUNDAY was unquestionably the biggest day of the year so far for Stratford Athletic Club as 31 runners competed in the Stratford Half Marathon, three in the Stratford Marathon, 15 in the London Marathon and three of the club’s juniors, having qualified, competed in the London Mini Marathon.
Fifteen of the finishers in this year’s London Marathon were members of Stratford AC. First of these to finish in a superb sub-three-hour time of 2:57:02 was Simon Hanagarth. This was a personal best for Hanagarth, who earlier this year had clocked 2:57:38 in Barcelona.
Next was Ivan Sarti with an M55 club record of 2:58:16. His time knocked more than 26 minutes off the previous club record which had stood since 1988. Sarti was also 22nd in his age category.
Malcolm Bowyer has suggested this might be his swansong for this prestigious race, having competed in it more than 20 times, but he finished with a flourish. His time of 3:12:34 was just 13 minutes slower than his time 16 years ago and also ensured he finished 90th in his age category.
James Cusack is a regular marathon runner who should be delighted with his time of 3:17:55 – his quickest time since 2016. The redoubtable Emily Adams was the first Stratford woman to finish and, despite being under the weather, still recorded an impressive time of 3:47:29. She was followed by Andrew Cox, who picked up an injury in the second half and finished in 3:51:58.
Annie Cox comfortably achieved her aim of finishing within four hours having failed to do so by just 53 seconds at last year’s Stratford Marathon. Her finishing time was 3:51:31.
Tim Hutchinson, who has been struggling with injuries for some time, suffered with a sore ankle at mile eight, followed by severe pain in his calf as well as a painful left glute. He finished in a time 3:54:19 and was followed by Andy Smith in 3:57:16.
Marathon debutants Frances Doran (4:06:13) and Hannah Finch (4:14:59) both had fabulous races. They were followed by Jane Fradgley in a PB of 4:49:17. Despite being pregnant, Sarah Boundy still managed to break the five-hour mark, recording a time of 4:59:22 and she was followed by Pippa Abrams in 5:08:39.
Last but most definitely not least was Jennifer Wharton who started running just six months ago through the Couch to 5k initiative. As a fund-raising effort for the Miscarriage Association, she completed her first marathon in 6:35:45 and most importantly did it with a smile on her face.
The marathon was won by Eliud Kipchoge, running the second-quickest marathon in history and recording a time of 2:02:37. Great Britain’s Mo Farah was fifth (2:05:39) and Callum Hawkins tenth (2:08:14).
The women’s race was won by Brigid Kosgei in 2:18:20, with Charlotte Purdue from Great Britain tenth (2:25:38).
Trio star in Mini event
THE MINI London Marathon is the official British Athletics three-mile road championships for athletes aged between 11 and 17.
The course is three miles long, stretching from London’s Old Billingsgate to The Mall. The event is open to entrants from the nine regions of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and includes teams from all 33 London Boroughs. Mo Farah is a previous winner of the race.
Stratford AC had three of their most talented junior endurance athletes competing and all three had to qualify to represent the West Midlands in this prestigious race.
In the U13 girls’ category, Maddie Linfoot completed the race in 20 minutes exactly to finish 56th. The race was won by Ruby Vinton in 17:14.
Georgie Campbell was competing in the U17 girls’ category and finished in 13th place with a time of 17:32. She was rightfully happy with this time, especially as it was quite windy. She really enjoyed the whole weekend and hopes to compete again next year. Her race was won by Charlotte Alexander in 16:36.
Alex Adams was competing in the U13 boys’ group and finished in 14th place with a time of 16:43, just 38 seconds behind race winner Ben Peck (16:05). Adams found the pace really fast but he managed to stay with the leading group for the first two miles and led home the second group.